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Stories this week at Wake Forest University


May 17, 2007

NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST TO GIVE COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS —

Members of the media are invited to cover Wake Forest University's commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. May 21, featuring New York Times columnist David Brooks. Wake Forest News Service-issued parking passes and media credentials will be required to enter campus the day of the event. To request parking passes for your news staff, contact the News Service as soon as possible.

TEACH FOR AMERICA POPULAR PATH FOR GRADUATES – Kate Flynn will be among fifteen Wake Forest seniors who will volunteer with Teach for America after graduation.  Flynn, an English major from Charlotte, plans to teach in a low-income school in St. Louis.   In the 2007-08 school year, 30 Wake Forest graduates will lead classrooms as first and second year corps members in 12 Teach For America regions, ranging from rural South Dakota to New York City.  An increasing number of college seniors across the country are applying to the Teach for America program. Teach for America received more than 18,000 applications this year and expects to place approximately 2,800 first-year corps members in classrooms this fall.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

ABSHER AND ABSHER, FATHER AND SON TO GET LAW DEGREES TOGETHER — Alton L. Absher Jr. and Alton L. Absher III , father and son, started at Wake Forest School of Law three years ago and will graduate together May 21.  They are from North Wilkesboro, but have both moved to Winston-Salem.  “It was Dad’s idea,” said Alton Absher III.  He said his father had always wanted to be an attorney.  When he retired early from an information technology job, he started thinking about it more.  After a year, he called up his son and asked him what he thought of the two of them starting law school together.  With a growing family and a job he liked, he first said no.  Then, before long, they had signed up to take the LSAT, applied to Wake Forest law school, been accepted and then enrolled as first-year law students.   The younger Absher plans to work in the area of patent law at Kilpatrick Stockton in Winston-Salem.  His father plans to practice estate law part-time.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

GRADUATE TO SUPPORT WOMEN’S CAUSES WITH PASSION FOR ART—Martha Napier has turned her artistic talent and passion for charitable women’s causes into a successful business operation called “Justees:  For Justice.”  The senior from Hinsdale, Ill., began creating hand-dyed, custom-embellished T-shirts to fund a service trip to Vietnam.  The fundraising venture was so successful, she decided to create a women’s knit top business that would allow “conscious consumers” to give back to greater causes, such as battered women’s shelters and breast cancer research.  The young designer was named “top designer” by her professor at a summer program at the Parsons School of Design.  She earned the Commercial and Retail Venture of the Year award from Wake Forest’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts (OELA) for her venture and was awarded one of two Fifth-Year Institute Fellowships through the OELA.  She plans to dedicate the next year to developing her company and hopes one day to design her own line of clothing.  She said a portion of her profits will always support non-profit organizations and initiatives supporting women. 

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

FAMILY WITH DEEP WAKE FOREST ROOTS – Wake Forest senior Devi Anna Eddins will graduate May 21.  Six generations of the Eddins family have attended Wake Forest beginning with her great-great-great uncle, John Catre Scarborough (Class of 1869), followed by her great-great grandfather, Edgar Freeman Eddins (Class of 1885) and her great grandfather, George Edgar Eddins (Class of 1917), her grandfather Dr. George Edgar Eddins Jr., (Class of 1942) and her aunt and uncle, Beth (Class of 1971) and W.J. Laughridge (Class of 1969).  Her cousin Meredith Laughridge graduated in the Class of 2004.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

SENIOR DEVELOPS WEB SITE TO BUY, SELL USED MEDICAL SUPPLIES—Three years ago, John Michael Baratta, a senior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and his cousin saw a need for people to be able to recycle used medical equipment.  With a long

family history in the medical field and drug store industry, they developed a Web site called MEDmarketplace.com where people can buy and sell used medical equipment, including crutches, walkers and motorized scooters.  Baratta, who is co-founder and chief technical officer, is responsible for all aspects of the Web site management.  After two years, the site has more than 6,000 regular participants and is growing rapidly.  Baratta’s e-commerce venture also won him an Excellence in Entrepreneurship E-Commerce Award from Wake Forest.   Baratta will graduate with a degree in biology and will enter the dual degree MD/MBA program at Wake Forest in the fall. 

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

GOING TO HOLLYWOOD – Most young people who aspire to careers in film are drawn to the glamour of acting or directing.  But, for Alex Creswick, a graduating Wake Forest senior from Columbia, S.C., it’s the behind-the-scenes and key role of producing that has captivated her.  Creswick is one of 15 students in the country (out of several hundred applicants) who have been accepted into the graduate-level producing program at the prestigious UCLA School of Film in Los Angeles for this coming year.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

SENIOR STARTED LOCAL PROGRAM FOR DISABLED CHILDREN —

Jonathan Barry, a senior from Tennessee, started a program to help disabled children called HOPE (Helping to Overcome Physical Expectations).  HOPE is a volunteer liaison organization and mentoring program between Wake Forest students and students at The Children’s Center and the Special Children’s School.  More than 170 student volunteers provide weekly one-on-one mentoring for children to promote the academic, social and emotional development of each child.  He also started KidsFest, an annual campus-wide community service event which provides age- and ability-appropriate activities to children with disabilities and their families.  Barry plans to study for a Master of Science in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as a Rotary Scholar.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

STUDENT OVERCOMES LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS TO GRADUATE –

Erika Harris, a Wake Forest senior who developed viral meningocephalitis when she was a junior, has overcome great challenges to graduate with her class on May 21.  She spent weeks in the intensive care unit at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and nearly died.   As her long recovery began, many thought she would not walk again.   Over many months, she gradually recovered. Now, she is healthy and will march in the commencement processional to receive her diploma.   While she was in the ICU, Dr. William Applegate, dean of the Wake Forest School of Medicine, promised her parents they would sit together at commencement to watch their daughters graduate.   Applegate’s daughter will also graduate from Wake Forest this month and the families plan to sit together at the ceremony.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

RHODES SCHOLAR HEADS TO OXFORD AFTER GRADUATION – Michelle Sikes, captain of the women’s track and cross country teams, is Wake Forest’s latest Rhodes Scholar.  Sikes is the 11th Wake Forest student to be named a Rhodes Scholar since 1986.  Among 32 Americans chosen by the Rhodes Trust to study at England’s Oxford University, she plans to pursue a Master of Science in Global Health Science. At Wake Forest, she is majoring in mathematical economics with a minor in health policy and administration.  At Wake Forest, Sikes holds an athletic scholarship and an academic scholarship, the Carswell scholarship.  “As a runner, my goal is to qualify for the Olympics,” said Sikes, who recently broke ACC records in the 10,000 meter and 5,000 meter runs at the ACC Outdoor Championships.  She has also been named an NCAA Track and Field All-American. “As a student, I want to use the Oxford education as a springboard into a career devoted to solving the health problems within disadvantaged populations.”   She would like to work for the World Health Organization and design public health policy.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

JOB OUTLOOK SUNNY FOR GRADUATES — William Currin, director of career services, said the number of recruiters coming to campus is up 14 percent this year. “It has been a very good year,” Currin said. “2006 was the best year we’ve had in over a decade and this year is keeping track with last year.” Last year, 96 percent of graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate or professional school six months after graduation, he said. Seniors are getting jobs in every field from public relations to real estate. Among the top five areas are education, financial services, accounting, consulting and general management. About 30 percent of Wake Forest graduates go directly to law school, medical school or other graduate and professional school programs.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

SENIOR FOUNDS NON-PROFIT FOR LOW-INCOME PREGNANT WOMEN – Laura Bullins, an anthropology major with minors in women’s and gender studies and theatre, researched the Mayan birth practices in Mexico while a student at Wake Forest.  She then organized a non-profit corporation in Winston-Salem called Woman to Woman Hand in Hand, which provides free doula support to low-income women as well as

community education and doula training.  The word  “doula” comes from ancient Greek and is now used to refer to someone experienced in childbirth who provides physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

SENIOR VOLUNTEERS TO TEACH IN CHINA — Jim Vizthum, a graduating Wake Forest senior from York, Pa., will leave for China in August to spend a year teaching English as a Second Language through the Maryknoll China Teachers Program.  Maryknoll is a Catholic Service program in which volunteers serve as goodwill ambassadors by sharing their Christian faith and values through the service of teaching English.  “I’m not only going to discover more about my own faith and grow in my faith by serving others with kindness and compassion, but I look forward to the experience this will give me in language study.”  Vizthum, who majored in Spanish, plans to begin Mandarin Chinese lessons with a tutor while abroad and hopes to enter graduate school when he returns to study linguistics and international business. 

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

EIGHT ARMY ROTC CADETS TO BE COMMISSIONED — Eight cadets, seven Wake Forest students and one Winston-Salem State University student, will be commissioned into the U.S. Army May 20 at a 3 p.m. ceremony in the Worrell Professional Center Auditorium.  Brigadier General Daniel Kauffman will speak.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

CATHOLIC PRIEST TO DELIVER BACCALAUREATE ADDRESS – The Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, a Catholic priest and the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at Harvard University, will deliver the Baccalaureate Address at 11 a.m. May 20 in Wait Chapel.  Hehir is the secretary for Social Services of the Archdiocese of Boston and president of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston. His research and writing focus on ethics and foreign policy, and the role of religion in world politics and in American society.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

WORLD-RENOWNED PHARMACOLOGIST TO GIVE MEDICAL SCHOOL ADDRESS — Wolfgang Schutz, president of the Medical University of Vienna and a world-renowned pharmacologist, will address the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s graduates at the hooding ceremony at 4:15 p.m. May 20 in Wait Chapel.  He will receive an honorary doctor of science degree during commencement May 21.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

SENATOR DALE BUMPERS TO ADDRESS LAW GRADUATES – Dale Bumpers, a four-term Democratic senator from Arkansas, will speak at the School of Law’s hooding ceremony at 1:45 p.m. May 20 in Wait Chapel.  Bumpers will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree during commencement May 21.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

CEO OF HOUSE RAISING INC., TO ADDRESS MBA GRADUATES – The Babcock School of Management hooding ceremony will be at 7 p.m. May 20 in Wait Chapel.  The speaker for the ceremony will be Gregory J. Wessling, chairman and chief executive officer of HouseRaising Inc., a company that designs and builds custom homes. Wessling, a former senior executive and 33-year veteran of Lowe’s Companies Inc. became HouseRaising’s chairman and CEO in June 2005. He was instrumental in transforming Lowe’s from a small regional lumber and building supply retailer into a nationwide chain of home products and improvement centers.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

COMMENCEMENT TO BE WEBCAST LIVE BEGINNING AT 9 A.M. — The entire commencement ceremony, including the speech by New York Times columnist David Brooks, will be broadcast live on the Internet beginning at 9 a.m. at www.wfu.edu/wowf.  In the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved to Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum and will not be available on the Internet. 

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.


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